Bond University Queensland Country head coach Jason Gilmore has named his side that will travel to Rockhampton to host Perth Spirit this Saturday, 19 September, at Victoria Park in Round 5 of the Buildcorp National Rugby Championship (NRC).
The starting XV features seven changes from the team that ran out against the Greater Sydney Rams in Sydney last Saturday.
St.George Queensland Reds loose-forward Ed Quirk has been named at Number 8 and will make his NRC and Queensland Country debut, while 2014 campaigner James Turner, who was part of the Souths team that claimed the 2015 BLK Queensland Premier Rugby title, returns to the side at blindside-flanker.
Lock duo Tyrell Barker and Sam Reiser will make their NRC starting debuts this Satuday, taking the place of Phil Potgieter and Milton Sikuea who have both been ruled out through injury. Haydn Hirsimaki also returns to the starting XV at loose-head prop after missing Round 4.
In the backs, Campbell Magnay will miss Saturday’s clash through injury which see’s Souths playmaker Teti Tela promoted to the 12 jersey with Matt Gordon moving to outside centre. Tom Pincus also returns to the wing after missing Round 4.
In the reserves, Bond University lock Cameron Bracewell is in line for his long awaited NRC and Queensland Country debut. Named as part of the inaugural 2014 squad, Bracewell missed out on selection last year through injury which has once again delayed his opportunities in 2015.
Jason Gilmore believes that while the side has a number of changes from last week, the players coming in will be hungry for the opportunity to play in-front of the home crowd in Rockhampton.
“We’ve had to make a few changes this week due to injury but the players we have coming into the squad bring a lot of experience with them,” Gilmore said.
“To have Ed Quirk in the backrow will be excellent for our younger players like Conor Mitchell and Maclean Jones, while James Turner started in all bar one of his seven games for Country during 2014.
“Teti Tela has been a great addition to the squad since coming into the program and he offers us a lot of attacking options as a ball-playing centre. To have Tom Pincus in the back-three again is also a bonus as he is a player tested at the NRC level having played throughout 2014 as well.
“It’s also great to have Cameron Bracewell back after being named in the squad two-years running but is yet to don the Country jersey due to injury. He’ll be wrapped with the opportunity to get out on field in one of our regional centres.
“2015 marks this 50th anniversary of the Queensland Country Rugby Union (QCRU) and this match in Rockhampton allows up to celebrate the contributions the region has made to the game.
“Growing up in Gladstone as a junior player, I know firsthand that there is a lot of talent coming though the Central Queensland ranks. While our local representatives in Rob Simmons (Theodore), Lolo Fakaosilea (Emerald) and Duncan Paia’aua (Rockhampton) are unavailable for Saturday’s match through representative duty and injury, these three are testament to the pathway that exists in the region.”
Queensland Country’s match against Perth Spirit will form the second-leg of the 2015 Queensland Country Tour, which will see the side play its NRC home games on the Darling Downs, in Rockhampton and on the Sunshine Coast. The tour is proudly supported by the Queensland Government.
Tickets are now on sale for all Queensland-based NRC matches at www.redsrugby.com.au.
Queensland Country side to play Perth Spirit:
1. Haydn Hirsimaki – Sunnybank/Sunshine Coast
2. Saia Fainga’a – Reds/GPS
3. Sef Fa’agase –Reds/University of Queensland/Beaudesert
4. Tyrell Barker- Easts**
5. Sam Reiser – University of Queensland**
6. James Turner (VC) – Souths/Cairns
7. Conor Mitchell – University of Queensland/Sunshine Coast
8. Ed Quirk – Reds/Easts*
9. James Tuttle (C) – Reds/GPS
10. Sam Greene – Reds/Brothers
11. Pierce Fitzgerald – Brothers/Townsville
12. Teti Tela – Souths**
13. Matt Gordon – Easts/Toowoomba
14. Tom Pincus – University of Queensland/Gold Coast
15. Elliott Hagen – Easts/Sunshine Coast
16. Alex Mafi – Reds/Bond University/Gold Coast
17. Reuben Leilua – University of Queensland/Bowen
18. Taniela Tupou – Reds/Brothers
19. Cameron Bracewell – Bond University/Gold Coast***
20. Maclean Jones – University of Queensland/St George
21. Scott Malolua - Souths
22. Doin Taumata – Bond University/Gold Coast
23. Tom Banks – Reds/University of Queensland
Perth Spirit side to play Queensland Country:
1. Francois Van Wyk
2. Heath Tessmann (C)
3. Jermaine Ainsley
4. Adrian Hall
5. Rory Walton
6. Pierre Roberts
7. Kane Koteka
8. Richard Hardwick
9. Ian Prior
10. Luke Burton
11. Brad Lacey
12. Kyle Godwin
13. Ammon Matuauto
14. Onehunga Havili
15. Albert Hikoro
16. Harry Scoble
17. Chris Heiberg
18. Torongare Reedy
19. Riley Winter
20. Auega Seumanutafa
21. Michael Ruru
22. Nick Jooste
23. Maaloga Konelio